Less Than Temporary

When Oz smiled, it was a surprise. Soft, silent, easy, all of that and something extra on the side, a gentle thing that was undeniably Oz. The way he walked in, noted the brandy and Giles' lazy stare, and then just shrugged and smiled, so understanding, so nice - it made Giles feel guilty and incredibly happy all at once. And Oz just said, "Hey," like it was the most normal thing in the world, and so it was, and Giles closed his eyes, content to be so slightly drunk that all the edges were just barely rounded and eased into fuzz.

The touch that came was nice, too, Oz's fingertips a little different on each hand as he touched Giles' temples. So certainly a guitar player; left hand steel-roughened, right hand just a bit softer, but all skin, all warm flesh scraping against Giles' face with simple friction, and all he could think to say was a simple, "Thank you."

"mm," was the response, and Oz in his lap was okay. It was a good okay, a heated and squirming okay, an it's okay that my shirt is getting unbuttoned by a man just out of his teens okay. Oz, so quiet and sure, so certain that this was okay, and the fingers were scraping again, following his jaw and going down, tweaking his Adam's apple, resting in the slight hollow of his throat, hot, cold, making him shiver and burn and he was intensely glad that the brandy was dulling it all a little, or this would be absolutely searing. The hands stopped on his chest, just above his nipples, stopped, rested there, pressed in and radiated so much everything that Giles caught his breath and waited.

For fire, or for Oz to pull away, or for the whole world to just end, right then and there, in a silent way that the Hellmouth most likely wouldn't allow for, just he and Oz, there, together, touching, staring, fucking drowning against each other. And Oz whispered, "Trust me," and he did, and it was so good to sit there and watch as Oz pulled a black marker from his pocket.

Somewhere something sparked, a protest, a worry, and he frowned. "That's permanent."

"Nothing's permanent." Oz eased the words into his ear with a mouthful of warm, wet air against his lobe. "Can I?"

There it was again, the "mm," this time from him, and his head fell back against the sofa, his eyes closed, and it was all the sensation, the flick of ink-drenched nub along his collarbone. Scratching, the ink grasping for a hold in his pores, taking its place, claiming the territory in Oz's own indirect way, marking him, once and for all. Because no matter what Oz said, some things were permanent. Some things didn't go away.

Some things were welcome to stay for a good long while, anyway. Giles sighed, low and full of content laziness, and his head swam with images of ink, sinking into his soul, muddying the waters, and even more of Oz, slinking in with an ease even the liquid black didn't have, occupying him, taking possession and never ever ever letting go.

He was okay with that. More than, and once he found the strength to raise his head and flick his eyes down to Oz's work, he was perfectly at ease with that. Craved even more, in fact. Music dotted his chest, notes strewn about like so many crumbs left behind for the birds. Eighth notes, quarter notes, full black dots of half notes, tracing up and down, some pattern he couldn't see, diagonals going everywhere in a staff-less myriad of whatever melody Oz currently had in his head. And still the young man worked, eyes narrowed in concentration, head bobbing in tune with something only he could hear, lips wet as he showed how much music was a part of life, how perfectly skilled he was at quickly jotting out his preferred language. Lower and lower he went, humming after a bit, and Giles could only watch, listen, let his ears grapple for small strains of the sound. Nothing too complicated, to hear Oz tell it, nothing too out of sorts for a simple guy with simple plans, with a plain black marker gripped in his fist.

And then he was done; he'd dashed out the little vertical bars to signify that this was it, the end, all over and you can trade in your ticket for a refund if you weren't fully satisfied, so long as you're still willing to live with the reminder etched upon your being. He looked up at Giles with a wicked glint, knowing full well he'd satisfied, that no exchanges were to be requested, not here, not now, and that Giles only wanted - more. And he capped the marker slowly, deliberately, tossed it aside, and then he was touching Giles again, his hands easing over his work as if it were Braille, soaking it all up.

And Giles was happy. Because it was a little bit of everything, with absolutely nothing involved, and Oz's hand felt so right against his belly that for once, for one strangely euphoric moment, he could actually let go and just be.

The hand did it, really, more than the music had. Not that the music hadn't, but this was a different sort of completion. It was braced against muscle and the slightest bit of middle-age pudge, because it had been years since his body had been perfectly trim, but not so many years that he'd been okay with that fact, and usually, yes usually that self-conscious mess of thoughts came back when someone looked or touched or just got near like this, but with Oz - with Oz it all boiled down to a rightness that made him feel good all over.

Just a hand. One left hand, and doubt was out the window. It really wasn't a lie, anyway, to say that it was only the hand, because he couldn't exactly concentrate enough to notice the tiny roll of hips, the achingly bittersweet motion of Oz's thighs, gripping his own as he rocked back and forth, imperceptible and inimitable all the same, extraordinary because Giles didn't have to notice to be lulled and made content by it.

One hushed word broke the silence, broke through and did more than the brandy ever could. Oz's right hand kept sweeping, pulling his eyes along with it as the fingers grazed their own marks, traced the notes back and forth, rereading creativity and slowly, gracefully tying it back to reality. The marks were there, would be for a good long while, until just as Oz had claimed, the permanence faded and nature and an abrasive loofah did their work. "So," he mumbled, and it was him mumbling, obviously, because the last he'd checked Oz didn't have an English lilt to his voice. A long time, too, since things had made sense like that.

Oz sniffed at that, an amused sound of gratification. He knew, they both knew, knew that it wasn't over, that the dashes meant little if they both wanted to keep going. And Christ, but Giles did, and his lips parted as Oz leaned in, his touch toughening, rubbing at the notes, at his chest, at his shoulders, gripping and squeezing and he was getting close, so close. His tongue was sweet when it eased against Giles', full of a tangy bite that Giles didn't think he'd ever grow accustomed to. Always new, always a little unexpected, just enough to ensure he'd never get bored. Sweet and tart all at once, pressing forward and making way, clearing a path only to be sucked further in, as Giles managed to raise his arms at last and take Oz's face in his palms, cup it there and kiss him so carefully that it was everything.

Everything, and nothing, because now wasn't about demands or desire or need. Just them, and the ink between them, and the way it had a subtle pull drawing Giles in for good. All in the present, until the world ended.

And until then, Giles would be only so glad to damn it all. Let it come with fire; let it burn them alive. He was good to go, for now.